“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up . . . reading.”
– Henny Youngman (March 16, 1906 – February 24, 1998) was a British-American comedian and violinist famous for “one-liners”, short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire. His best known one-liner was “Take my wife—please.”
In a time when many comedians told elaborate anecdotes, Youngman’s comedy routine consisted of telling simple one-liner jokes, occasionally with interludes of violin playing. These gags depicted simple, cartoon-like situations, eliminating lengthy build-ups and going straight to the punch line. He was known as the King of the One Liners, a title bestowed upon him by columnist Walter Winchell. A typical stage performance by Youngman lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes, but contained dozens of jokes, delivered in rapid-fire fashion.